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Social Media Optimization …First Five Rules…Reloaded

October 17, 2007 | Wisitech InfoSolutions
tips for social media optimizationParam Shobhit
Team Leader – Web Content

Now that we have defined SMO (Social Media Optimization), the next step is to understand how to make it work.

The pioneers of SMO like Rohit Bhargava (who coined the term and gave the first 5 rules), Jeremiah Owyang (chalked down next 2 rules), Cameron Olthuis (gave us rules # 8 – 11), Loren Baker (defined 12th and 13th rule), Lee Odden (the contributor of rules # 14, 15 and 16) have begun the process of putting this online marketing concept into use.

First five SMO rules took shape in August 2006, when web 2.0 was more or less just an idea. Since much water has flown down the Ganges!

Web 2.0 has turned out to be manna from heaven which has got every webmaster buzzing around it. SMO is to web 2.0 what SEO was to the web 1.0.

In this scenario there is need to reinterpret these rules. Take a look at how we at Wisitech interpret first five rules:

1. Keep the Content Fresh: This is our interpretation of the first rule, “Increase your linkability”.

According to Rohit Bhargava websites should be constantly updated to make members of different communities over social media interested and wanting to keep coming back. He suggests adding blogs, creating white papers and thought pieces.

Great idea! But why make people just read? Why not involve them into brainstorming over some idea relevant to the website? This will make sure that your content is updated by the visitors themselves, leaving you the time to think of the next BIG Idea.

2. Make visitors tag or bookmark your website: Add quick buttons to tag the pages and include a list of relevant tags. Suggest notes for a link and make sure to tag the pages first on popular social bookmarking sites, suggests Rohit Bhargava.

But the bigger challenge lies in how to make the content compelling and interesting enough to make people do that.

3. Give Something Back: In other words “Reward inbound links.” Which webmaster or blogger worth her salt doesn’t want quality inbound links? Provide outbound links by creating permalink in your website to the most important, relevant and the most frequent bloggers.

4. Reach Out to the Long Tail: Create new, attention grabbing, unique and compelling content in all sorts of media (PDFs, video files and audio files) that popular social media sites support and post them in those sites. If the content is interesting enough to stir curiosity, inbound traffic will explode.

According to Tim O’Reilly “If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads. It may not reflect the deep structure of the brain, which is often unconscious, but is instead the equivalent of conscious thought.”

5. Let Others Use your Content- Or ,”Encourage the mashup.” Let people build on your content, whether it is in the form of written document or a video file or an audio file. Just maintain a minimum control over it so that your brand name doesn’t get lost in the further evolvement.

With Web 2.0 only those businesses will be successful which enable P2P (people-to-people) interaction in true sense of the word. With SMO working, this P2P interaction will be many-to-many around your central idea, something like the wheel and spoke arrangement with your idea at the centre.

The number of layers that can be added is limitless and all the time you will be visible. This means people stingy about sharing content or uneasy about letting others tamper with it will lose out. It’s the viral world now!

The idea is to make people excited, interested or even outraged enough to discuss, remix or mash up your content with their own. With more and more people discussing it, your content and by extension your website will become more and more popular.

With your website gone viral, your content will travel to the edges of the world (both online and offline) in various user generated forms. This idea is in sync with what Christopher Alexander describes in his book ‘A Pattern Language’

Intellectual property protection limits re-use and prevents experimentation. Therefore: When benefits come from collective adoption, not private restriction, make sure that barriers to adoption are low. Follow existing standards, and use licenses with as few restrictions as possible. Design for “hackability” and “remixability.”

I’ll interpret the next set of SMO rules, as we at Wisitech see them, in my next post. I look forward to your comments/interpretations of the rules.

Let your creative energies flow!

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